Your Complete Checklist for Choosing a Corporate Instant Messenger
Effective communication is vital to a productive and secure corporate environment. Yet many corporations continue to use insecure chat applications, networks which don’t allow for governance and regulation, or platforms which don’t provide an effective collaboration solution.
According to recent research, 27% of employees knowingly connect to insecure networks. What’s more, one-quarter of participants share confidential company information on such platforms, while 76% admit to discussing their personal lives.
Shocking numbers, really, especially considering the risks involved with using the wrong communication platform.
With the boom in corporate communication solutions, finding the right platform can be a challenge. So what must you look for when choosing an instant messenger for your corporation?
Here’s your complete checklist!
Consolidated Network Administration
Your corporate instant messenger should enhance efficiency and productivity while providing liability and security.
For starters, containing team communication within a private team network and concentrating administration in one place ensures:
- Communication and collaboration transpire only between authorized users
- Accountability and consistency in the authorization of users for the platform
- Efficient account creation and management
- An added layer of protection from intruders and outside threats
Sometimes it’s necessary to distribute administrative permissions – in larger corporations, or with distributed teams and/or remote workers, for example. In such instances, a corporate instant messenger affords you the ability to set multiple network administrators.
Spreading administrative control allows for more efficient management of teams:
- Across different departments
- In multiple locations
- Working on specific projects
Corporate communications often traverse multiple departments, teams, and locations. That means more opportunities for misuse or mishandling of company information and, as a result, the need for varying degrees of data access.
For example, a content writer on the marketing team and a corporate accountant probably don’t warrant the same access to sensitive company data and communications.
That’s why it’s critical that your internal communication platform enables you to limit who has access to user data. By establishing data security levels on an individual basis, you can more effectively govern user data across your network; adding another layer of protection and peace of mind.
Full Features Control
For focused corporate communication, you need to:
- Minimize communication and information that needs monitoring
- Mitigate internal malfeasance, carelessness, and inactivity
By providing comprehensive enterprise control, corporate instant messaging allows you to accomplish both.
Let’s say your organization has a clearly defined internal communications policy. While your IT support team needs platform-wide access, you may prefer to keep other communications inter-departmental.
Maybe there have been recurring instances of time-wasting or impropriety leading to missed deadlines or irritated team members Or it could just be necessary to create a chat room for ongoing tasks or projects like budget reports or marketing campaigns.
In each of these instances, it’s useful to have the ability to:
- Tailor user experiences by enabling/disabling features on an individual and/or group basis
- Customize user contact lists and effectively control who can chat with whom
- Create, lock, and shut down chat rooms as necessary; adding and removing users as you see fit
A well-regulated network with full control over chat spaces, participants, and features ensures corporate communication remains as focused or flexible as necessary.
Thorough Record Keeping
Your chat archives matter. Not only are they required by law in many cases, but a thorough record of your internal communications provides important oversight, insight into team communication trends, as well as another way to boost team performance.
Aside from multiple regulations on both sides of the Atlantic mandating the archival of electronic communications, comprehensive chat archives allow for more effective governance over what’s communicated on the network.
In a data-driven world, knowing what your teams are communicating can shed valuable insight into the state of your organization’s communication, temperament, and even strategy development. Knowing how they prefer to keep in touch, on the other hand, can help you halt bad habits and pinpoint productive ones.
What’s more, the simple ability to review chats can save you time and the inevitable headache of trying to recall details from a prior conversation.
Unified Communication and Collaboration
While consumer-grade chat apps provide one-on-one and group messaging, as well as voice and video calls, they lack tools to facilitate worthwhile collaboration – leaving corporate communication to transpire over one platform, while team collaboration takes places on another.
This constant switching back and forth between apps and tools isn’t just an inconvenience. It’s a major time-waster. And it slows teams down.
Corporate instant messaging unifies communication and collaboration – providing not only the capacity to chat via text, chat rooms, or voice and video, but the ability to pair these features with a host of team collaboration tools.
- More meaningful presentations and visual demonstrations
- More powerful brainstorming sessions
- More effective software or application explanations
Furthermore, the ability to transfer files without size or data restrictions – presentations, onboarding materials, or company and product manuals, for example – and then discuss them in real time, as well as gauge facial and vocal reactions, elicits more purposeful feedback and leads to more relevant improvements.
Threats to corporate security are constant. Some lurk within emails and attachments, while other malicious outside sources prey on insecure communications.
- Peer-to-peer communication channels
- End-to-end encryption
- Anti-virus and malware integration
Cloud-based platforms act as a middle man, taking communications offsite during the delivery process where they’re subject to mishandling and even outside attacks. Peer-to-peer channels, on the other hand, facilitate communications directly between the sender and recipient; avoiding altogether client or third party servers.
By sealing communications and providing only the sender and recipient the keys to unlock it, end-to-end encryption further guarantees that company data remains in the hands of the end users.
Moreover, integrated anti-virus and malware protection adds yet another layer of security and peace of mind, so you can realize the full potential of the network rather than worrying about the safety of company data.
Corporate environments are increasingly dynamic. Not only is on the go the new norm, but communication transpires over devices galore and between team members of varying job titles and skillsets.
For those reasons, your corporate instant messenger must include mobility, operability, and simplicity.
An effective mobile app allows corporate communication to occur uninterrupted by commutes, business travel, or the remote locations from which team members check in. Operability, on the other hand, ensures teamwork remains free-flowing regardless of the device or operating system.
Equally important, however, is user-friendliness. Too many bells and whistles can overcomplicate communication; impeding efficiency and performance.
The right number of intuitive features and tools limits the amount of explaining, learning, and adapting to the platform; ensuring time on the network is spent communicating and collaborating.